Festivals as a Way Forward.

I am writing an article today about Slot Art Festival. I really love Festivals and see them as a way of the future for other continents as well as Europe. Which is why our family has been involved in them for the last decade. There are lots of Christian festivals in Europe that act as portals and gathering points for followers of Jesus but a lot of people say that SLOT Festival is their favourite. We loved it also. We put our tipi up next to the monastery and the image below has been on my phone display ever since.

Slot Festival in Poland stands out to me because:

Slottipimonastery-2It is youthful.

Out of the 5000+ people who were there, I would say most were late teens or perhaps early 20’s. I was one of the old guys. I felt like Rip Van Winkle! Honestly. And even though it can be depressing to be in your early 40’s when everyone around is half your age, its also really exciting to see the future of church in Poland and see so much hope.

It is cheap.

5 solid days of festival for 35 Euros. And you can camp for free. Compare that with your average Christian-run Festival and 35 Euros will hardly get you to the registration table. Festivals can only do this if they don’t hire the big name speakers and bands who only come for a fee, the expense of which is thus passed onto the participants and in a poorer country, would mean that a lot of people would not be able to attend. Better to have the highly committed speakers, bands, leaders come who can often pay or help pay their own way, and avoid the celebrity drawing factor that can often spoil other festivals and conferences.

It is environmentally friendly.

People generally come from the area and the few countries around Poland. Most people stay in tents and the monastery is not air conditioned. Very little energy is used up and the footprint is tiny. Festivals in general leave a far smaller footprint than conferences that rely on hotels and airports.

It is holistic

130 workshops including all kinds of physical skills and bodily co-ordination. It has an almost carnivalesque flavor with people learning to juggle and paint and fling poi-poi around. It creates an atmosphere of humility and learning.

It is unifying

Slot is managed primarily by Protestants but it hires out an old Catholic monastery to host the event. It manages to draw both Protestant and Catholic young people. In a predominantly Catholic country, there seems to be a lack of controversy and drawing up sides which I see as very healthy.

Slotchathballoon-1

It gives itself away.

It is helping other nations launch their festivals. Freakstock have been doing this for years – helping to launch FreakFest in Czech Republic and helping SLOT to develop. And now SLOT is helping other festivals to pop up with a similar flavor. A good example is UpFest in Ukraine that just started a few years ago with the leaders of SLOT backing them up.

It has a Kiwi Cafe

Its a great name and a great space. Not sure why that appeals to me so much but it does

Anyway, I have thus begun my article and will continue it off the blog. For more about SLOT, see my reflections from Slot Festival here or see my post with the SLOT videos. Festivals are part of our spiritual disciplines and calender and they represent an opportunity to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together but rather to be together in a place where many streams of the body of Christ turn up to be accountable to each other and to enjoy each other. Or in other words, a little slice of heaven on earth

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Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

7 Comments

  • What I like about it is the fact that it’s not really a Christian festival. It’s run by Christians, but they call it a festival of independent culture, and they stay true to this label. Which make lot of un/dechurched folk come and enjoy.
    It also became a real hub (and a genarator) for all emerging / alternative church activities in Poland.
    Anyway, thanks for mentioning SLOT.

  • I really love the way this is done, and I would love to be involved in doing somethign similar here in the uk, perhaps others already are, and I just dont know (probably) but if not, is anyone interested in looking at this with me?

  • It really does sound like a slice of heaven. I wasn’t able to make it but very tempted to try next year. I have had a lot of experience with “expensive” Christian gatherings and it’s really refreshing to hear of people thinking outside the square, and realising that togetherness and celebration can be achieved more simply. I also like the idea of festivals being a “spiritual discipline”. Had never looked at it that way.

  • ‘And even though it can be depressing to be in your early 40’s when everyone around is half your age” – don’t you find that it’s invigorating to be around young people? They keep you young (I’m 63, and currently performing in a play in which the median age of the cast is 20)

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